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May 3, 2011 03:52 PM

Napa Winery Question: Barnett Winery (vs) Quintessa

Have any of you folks visited either of these wineries or tried their wines? I have a short visit coming up to the Napa Valley, and I want to try out a nicer winery with quality wines (cabs or chardonnays) and exceptional views and ambiance. We've been to Napa more times that I can keep track, and want to avoid the mainstream crowded wineries.

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    1. Barnett, way up on the mountain, has stunning views, way better than Q. Barnett wines, reflecting mountain grapes, are more austere and will take more aging to open up. Once the reds open up, five to ten years later, they will be silky and proud.

      Try to visit both wineries, but if it is just one, I'd choose Barnett. It's more work to get there (it is WAY up on the mountain) but once there it is a different world. Looking down at the valley from up there really makes you appreciate a unique place of wine paradise.

      1. thx for your input, guys. @ svL: is the windy road annoyingly treacherous, or manageable? I'm leaning towards Barnett

        2 Replies
        1. re: domestic diva

          It's not treacherous. Give yourself 20 minutes to get there from the town of St Helena, and enjoy. I think you'll really enjoy Spring Mountain--it's just enough out of the way to avoid the mainstream crowds, but not far enough to be a hassle. Give yourself time after the tasting to try some other Spring Mountain wineries--the Barnett staff can make recommendations and probably call ahead for you.

          1. re: SteveG

            There are quite a few wineries as you make your way up the hill, so you could make a "tour" of the Spring Mountain appellation. Pride is just up the road at the top of the mountain, they need a reservation. You can also look up the AVA and see list of wineries.

            Charbay is also along the way, if you're interested in spirits.

        2. I can't stand Quintessa. Their wine just isn't good and they charge stupid amounts of money for tastings and bottles. Haven't been to Barnett but I couldn't see how they could be worse.

          1. I opened my lone bottle of 1995 Quintessa red a few weeks ago and it was gorgeous. Still very lively, full of elegance and power at the same time. Wish that Napa Valley had more Cabernet blends with this kind of complexity and sophistication.